January Classic Moments


"Classic Moments," the biggest sports news event of the day in the 20th century, is archived daily in this area.

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Jan. 1
College football
1954:
In the Cotton Bowl, Rice halfback Dicky Moegle takes a handoff on his own five-yard line in the second quarter and appears on his way to a 95-yard touchdown run down the sideline. But suddenly Alabama fullback Tommy Lewis leaps off the bench without his helmet and tackles Moegle on the Tide 40. Lewis' jarring tackle stuns Moegle and the crowd of 75,504.

Referee Cliff Shaw awards Moegle a touchdown. It is one of three long touchdown runs by Moegle, who also scores from 79 and 34 yards. The 19-year-old junior finishes with a Cotton Bowl-record 265 yards rushing on just 11 carries in Rice's 28-6 victory. Moegle's 24.1-yard average is the highest average per rush in any bowl game.

Lewis apologizes twice to Moegle -- once while he is laying on the ground and again at halftime. "I saw him coming a long way off," Lewis says after the game. "The nearer he got to me, the nearer I moved to the field. I don't know what happened. I couldn't realize that I had done it when I returned to the bench. It seemed like a dream."
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Jan. 2
College football
1984:
All during the regular season, when Nebraska was rolling to a 12-0 record and averaging 52 points, some were calling this Cornhuskers' team the greatest in college football history. But all that ends in the Orange Bowl tonight.

Behind Bernie Kosar's passing. Miami takes a 17-0 lead in the first quarter and holds a 31-17 edge midway into the final period. But Nebraska storms back and Jeff Smith scores two touchdowns, with his 24-yard run on fourth-and-eight bringing the Cornhuskers to within 31-30 with 48 seconds left. An extra point ties the game and most likely gives Nebraska the national title.

But coach Tom Osborne makes the gutsy call of going for the two-point conversion and victory. "We wanted an undefeated season and a clear-cut championship. I don't think we should go for the tie in that case. It never entered my head," Osborne says afterward about going for the tying kick. "I guess I'm not very smart."

When Miami's Ken Calhoun knocks down Turner Gill's pass, the 11-point underdog Hurricanes (11-1) have their amazing upset. They also will have the national championship, rising from fifth (AP) and fourth (UPI) to first in both polls. Nebraska will be ranked second.

Pro football
1982:
The AFC semifinal playoff game between San Diego and Miami is a wild roller-coaster ride. The Chargers storm out to a 24-0 lead in the first quarter, but by halftime Dolphins reserve quarterback Don Strock has rallied Miami to within 24-17. He gets a touchdown on the final play of the second quarter when Duriel Harris catches his pass and laterals to Tony Nathan, who dashes 25 yards for the score.

The Dolphins take a 38-31 lead in the fourth quarter before Dan Fouts' nine-yard touchdown pass to James Brooks with 58 seconds left sends the game into overtime. Rolf Benirschke misses a 27-yard field-goal try early in the extra period before nailing a 29-yarder to give the Chargers a 41-38 victory.

San Diego's Kellen Winslow catches a playoff record 13 passes (for 166 yards and one touchdown) and blocks Uwe von Schamann's 43-yard field-goal try as the fourth quarter expires. The weary tight end is helped off the Orange Bowl field when the game ends. This is the first game in NFL history to have two quarterbacks -- Fouts and Strock -- pass for more than 400 yards.
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Jan. 3

Pro baseball
1920:
Babe Ruth had quite a 1919 season with the Boston Red Sox. Playing more than 100 games as an outfielder for the first time in his career, Ruth, who had previously been used mostly as a pitcher, broke the major league home run record with 29 and led the American League with 114 RBI and 103 runs. He also went 9-5 on the mound.

But Red Sox owner Harry Frazee needs cash to continue producing his Broadway plays. So he had agreed to sell Babe to the New York Yankees and today the announcement is made. Frazee will receive $125,000 in cash and a $300,000 loan.

Boston, which had won five World Series before the deal (three with Ruth), will go 0-for-80 years after it. Many fans in New England refer to this as "The Curse of the Bambino."

Pro football
1983:
Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett becomes the only player in NFL history to run 99 yards for a touchdown. Taking a handoff two yards deep in the end zone, Dorsett bursts through a big hole off tackle against the Minnesota Vikings' defense, cuts to his right and then races down the sideline.

He avoids being knocked out of bounds on the Vikings 25 and tightropes down the sideline for the score. "I just saw a lot of green," says Dorsett after the Cowboys' 31-27 defeat.

Dorsett's run breaks the NFL record of 97 yards, set by Andy Uram of the Chicago Cardinals in 1939 and tied by Bob Gage of Pittsburgh in 1949.

Pro football
1993:
In college, as a quarterback for Maryland in 1984, Frank Reich had come off the bench to rally the Terrapins from a 31-0 halftime deficit to a 42-40 victory over defending national champion Miami. In today's AFC Wild Card Game, Reich goes a point better.

Reich is starting for the Buffalo Bills because Jim Kelly is injured.

Early in the third quarter, a Reich pass is intercepted and returned for a touchdown, extending the Houston Oilers' lead to 35-3. But showing he has the Reich stuff, he leads an un-Bill-ievable comeback. He throws four touchdown pass, the last three to Andre Reed, and Buffalo takes a 38-35 lead.

A 26-yard field goal by Houston's Al Del Greco with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter sends the game into overtime. Steve Christie's 32-yard field goal in the extra period gives the Bills the improbable 41-38 victory.

The comeback from 32 points is the greatest in any NFL game, regular or postseason.

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Jan. 4
Pro football
1986:
Los Angeles Rams running back Eric Dickerson has a point to prove to the Dallas Cowboys, who showed little interest in drafting him after he left SMU. Dickerson proves it, too, when he runs through the Cowboys for an NFL postseason record 248 yards in the Rams' 20-0 victory in an NFC divisional playoff game in Anaheim, Calif.

In averaging 7.3 yards a carry on his 34 attempts, Dickerson scores on runs of 55 and 40 yards. His 248 yards breaks the professional playoff record of 206 set by the San Diego Chargers' Keith Lincoln in the 1964 American Football League championship game.

"I have never been a fan of Dallas," Dickerson says. "Some might think that's funny because I'm a native of Texas. But, as a kid, I always used to say that I'd love to play against the Cowboys."

Pro football
1987:
In an NFC divisional playoff game, the New York Giants put a 49-3 licking on the San Francisco 49ers. They send Joe Montana to the hospital with a concussion and his teammates back home with a case of severely wounded pride.

With the Giants leading 21-3 late in the first half, nose tackle Jim Burt hammers Montana just as the quarterback releases his pass. The wounded duck wobbles into Lawrence Taylor's hands, and the linebacker returns it 34 yards for a touchdown. "That play was like dropping the H-bomb on them," L.T. says.

While L.T. is buried under an avalanche of jubilant teammates, Montana is crumpled on the ground at Giants Stadium with a concussion. "It was a clean hit," Burt says. "But I don't feel good about it."

Giants quarterback Phil Simms completes just 9-of-19 passes, but four go for touchdowns.
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Jan. 5
Pro football
1964:
San Diego fullback Keith Lincoln accounts for 329 yards running and receiving in the Chargers' 51-10 rout of the Boston Patriots in the American Football League championship game in San Diego.

On just 13 carries, Lincoln runs for a playoff record 206 yards (the mark will not be broken for 22 yards, until Eric Dickerson rushes for 248 yards in 1986) and catches seven passes for 123 yards. Lincoln's first two rushes cover 123 yards -- 56 yards coming on a sweep and a 67 more on a touchdown after taking a pitchout in the first quarter. Lincoln also scores on a 25-yard pass from John Hadl in the fourth quarter.

"Lincoln is the best back in the league, bar none," Patriots defensive end Bob Dee says. "About five of us hit him and couldn't bring him down."

Pro basketball
1988:
Pete Maravich, the NCAA's all-time leading scorer, dies playing the game he loved. After a pickup game in Pasadena, Maravich tells another player, "I need to do this more often. I'm really feeling good."

Turning to walk away, Maravich falls to the floor. He never regains consciousness and efforts to revive him are futile.

Maravich's trademark was a pair of sloppy gray socks that fell around his ankles during a game. At age three, he could dribble. At eight, he could spin the ball on one finger. At LSU, he scored 3,667 points in his three seasons, averaging 44.2. In 10 seasons in the NBA, he averaged 24.2 points and was named to five All-Star teams.

He was one of basketball's great showmen, dribbling between his legs and behind his back and throwing passes from all angles, often surprising his teammates. Pete Maravich dies of a heart attack at age 40.
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Jan. 6
Figure skating
1994:
Behind the glamour of figure skating, there's a cutthroat world. U.S. national champion figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, the 1992 Olympic bronze medalist, finds out the hard way after a practice for the Olympic Trials in Detroit. A powerful man strikes her with a collapsible metal baton, bruising her right knee so severely she will be forced to withdraw from the Trials.

The police will arrest Jeff Gillooly, the former husband of Kerrigan rival Tonya Harding, and Harding's bodyguard, Shawn Eckhardt, for hatching the plot. Shane Stant will be arrested as the assailant and his uncle, Derrick Smith, as the driver of the get-away car.

Gillooly and Eckardt will tell authorities that Harding had been an active participant in the plot. Harding will say that she only knew about the attack after it been carried out. After the Olympics, where she will finish eighth, she will plead guilty to conspiring to hinder prosecution of a case. She will be put on three years probation, be ordered to perform 500 hours of community and be fined $100,000.

Kerrigan will finish second at the Olympics and go to Disney World.

Pro basketball
1995:
Lenny Wilkens, who has personified grace and dignity during his 22-year coaching career, becomes the NBA's all-time leader in regular-season coaching victories with 939 as his Atlanta Hawks defeat the Washington Bullets, 112-90.

With the Hawks comfortably ahead in the final minutes, Wilkens salutes Red Auerbach, the man he had been tied with, by lighting up a victory cigar reminiscent of the ones Auerbach lit up after Boston Celtic wins.

After the win, Wilkens receives a confetti shower from his players.

Before coming to Atlanta in 1993, Wilkens had coached the Seattle SuperSonics for 11 years, the Portland Trail Blazers for two years and the Cleveland Cavaliers for seven. His 1978-79 Sonics won the NBA title.
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Jan. 7
Baseball
1991:
On a cold, gray day, Pete Rose -- No. 14 for the Cincinnati Reds and No. 01832061 at Marion Federal Prison -- is released from the minimum-security facility in Illinois after serving five months for federal income-tax evasion. Later in the day he reports to a Cincinnati halfway house.

Baseball's all-time hits leader with 4,256 will serve his sentence at Talbert House, where he will be confined in the evenings for three months. He will live in a room with a metal spring bed, a steel trunk for belongings, and a bathroom. The residents live two or three to a room. During the day, he will begin his 1,000 hours of community service that are part of his sentence.

After the three months, Rose will continue his community service and be on probation for nine months.

Rose earned 11 cents an hour working eight-hour days in Marion Prison's welding shop.

Hockey
1980:
For 35 games, the Philadelphia Flyers didn't lose. They set a major sports pro record with their 35-game unbeaten streak, composed of 25 victories and 10 ties. Since the streak reached 15, the Flyers have not played to less than a sellout. Thirteen times during the streak they had come from behind to win or tie games.

But tonight, for the first time in 86 days, the Flyers lose. After scoring the game's first goal, Minnesota goalie Gilles Meloche blanks the Flyers the rest of the way and the North Stars roll to a 7-1 victory before a capacity crowd of 15,692 in Bloomington, Minn.

"We didn't really care where the streak ended," Flyers coach Pat Quinn says. "I said all along that it was inevitable. We didn't lose -- we got beat."

Pro basketball
1927:
Without much ado, the Harlem Globetrotters play their first game. Traveling from Chicago (not Harlem) to Hinckley, Ill. -- a trip of 48 miles -- they get their show on the road. They receive $75 for the game.

"Abe Saperstein, a portly little man with big basketball ideas, took five players, a ramshackle flivver (automobile) and a tattered road map and started one of the most amazing careers of the sports world," Wendell Smith of the "Pittsburgh Courier," one of the nation's prominent African-American newspapers, will write many years later. "This was the unheralded and humble beginnings of the Harlem Globetrotters."

That first winter, according to "The Official NBA Basketball Encyclopedia," the Globetrotters will win 101 of 117 games before audiences whose exposure to the sport was minimal.
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Jan. 8
College basketball
1955:
Since losing to Ohio State 12 years ago, Kentucky hasn't lost a home game. But Georgia Tech ends the Wildcats' 129-game streak by registering a 59-58 upset.

Bobby Kimmel's two foul shots with 1:12 left move Georgia Tech to within 58-57. Kentucky tries to freeze the ball, but Joe Helms steals it, and with 11 seconds left, his jump shot sinks the No. 1-ranked Wildcats. The backcourt of Helms (game-high 23 points) and Kimmel (18) account for 41 of Tech's points.

Besides stopping the long home-winning streak, the Engineers also end an overall 32-game winning streak by coach Adolph Rupp's troops. It also is the first time that Kentucky loses at Lexington in the Southeastern Conference in almost 16 years, since Tennessee won 30-29 on Jan. 21, 1939.
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Jan. 9
Pro football
1977:
The Oakland Raiders make a mockery of Minnesota quarterback Fran Tarkenton's pregame "guarantee" speech by making a mockery of the Vikings' vaunted defensive line. Pounding away inside defensive ends Carl Eller and Jim Marshall, the blocking of Art Shell and Gene Upshaw enables the Raiders to run for 266 yards in their 32-14 rout in Super Bowl XI in Pasadena.

"You're tougher than (defensive tackle) Alan Page," says Upshaw to a tall, thin, 40something reporter. Clarence Davis leads the Oakland rushing attack with 137 yards. Quarterback Ken Stabler completes 12-of-19 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown to Dave Casper. Wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff is named MVP for catching four passes for 79 yards. "We had tougher games in the AFC than we did today," says John Madden, a winner in his only Super Bowl as head coach.

Pro basketball
1972:
For more than two months the Los Angeles Lakers had not lost. But their 33-game winning streak ends when the Bucks' 7-foot-2 center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar comes up big in Milwaukee, outplaying the Lakers' 7-foot-1 Wilt Chamberlain.

In the 120-104 victory by the defending NBA champions, the 24-year-old Abdul-Jabbar outscores the 35-year-old Wilt 39-15 and has more rebounds (20 to 12), more blocked shots (10 to 6) and more assists (5 to 2). "I have never seen Jabbar more fired up for a game," Lakers coach Bill Sharman says.

"I'm sorry the streak is over," says Lakers guard Jerry West, who shoots only 5-of-16 from the field in scoring 20 points. "I wanted it to go on forever."

Sharman says, "It will be many, many years before anybody wins 33 games in a row again."

He's right. As the millenium approaches, no American professional team in any major sport has bettered the Lakers' record.
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Jan. 10
Pro hockey
1920:
The nickname he got while working as a cub reporter has stuck to "Newsy" Lalonde, who led the NHL in scoring last season. The Montreal forward becomes the first NHL player to score six goals in a game as the Canadiens defeat Toronto, 14-7.

The record, though, will last just 21 days, as Joe Malone of the Quebec Bulldogs will score seven goals, also against Toronto.

Besides Lalonde and Malone, only five other players will ever score as many as six goals in a game.

The 21 goals for Montreal and Toronto also is a record. It will be tied in 1985 by Edmonton and Chicago, with the Oilers winning, 12-9.

Pro football
1982:
The game will forever be remembered for The Catch. But the pass is pretty impressive, too. And so is the drive.

Trailing the Dallas Cowboys 27-21 in the NFC championship game, the San Francisco 49ers take over on their own 11 with 4:54 left in the fourth quarter. Joe Montana adroitly moves the 49ers to the Dallas six, mixing five running plays with seven passes.

Chased by three Cowboys on third-and-three, a mobile Montana runs to his right. In the back of the end zone, his favorite target, Dwight Clark, runs in the same direction. Montana lofts the ball and Clark makes the leaping catch with 51 seconds left. Ray Wersching's extra point gives the 49ers a 28-27 victory.

"I was thinking of throwing the ball away, but I saw him come open and I figured if I could hang on another half-second ...," Montana says after the game. "We're instructed that if we throw that pass to make sure he's the only one who can catch it. Dwight's 6-4 and a lot of people don't know about his leaping ability. He can dunk a basketball."
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Jan. 11
Pro football
1970:
Despite the New York Jets' stunning upset of the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl a year ago, many fans remain skeptical about the AFL. They expect the balance of power to be restored to the NFL in today's Super Bowl IV.

It's not. The Kansas City Chiefs show that the Jets' victory wasn't a fluke. Scoring four of the first five times they have the ball (three Jan Stenerud field goals and a five-yard touchdown run by Mike Garrett), the Chiefs tear through the Minnesota Vikings' "Purple People Eaters" to take a 16-0 halftime lead.

About the only thing the Vikings eat today is crow. Quarterback Len Dawson, the game's MVP, throws a 46-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and the Chiefs win, 23-7. Defensively, the Chiefs hold the Vikings to 239 total yards.

Pro football
1987:
It is known, simply, as "The Drive." Quarterback John Elway has led the Broncos back from defeat many teams, but his performance in the AFC championship game against the Browns tops the list of his heroics, elevating him to superstar status.

Trailing 20-13 with 5½ minutes left in the fourth quarter at Cleveland, Denver takes over on its own two, 98 yards away from the tying touchdown. Elway smartly passes and scrambles the Broncos down to the Browns' five-yard line. On third-and-one, Elway fires a dart in the end zone to Mark Jackson with 37 seconds left. Rich Karlis' extra point ties the game.

In overtime, two Elway passes account for 50 yards, setting up a 33-yard field goal by Karlis that gives the Broncos a 23-20 victory, sending them to the Super Bowl.
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Jan. 12
Pro football
1969:
Despite the New York Jets being 19-point underdogs to the Baltimore Colts, quarterback Joe Namath had visions of victory a few days before Super Bowl III. With a double scotch in his hand, he answered a heckler by saying, "We'll win. I guarantee it."

Broadway Joe is as good as his word as he guides the Jets to a stunning 16-7 triumph, legitimizing the upstart AFL with an upset for the ages. He completes 17-of-28 passes for 206 yards, with George Sauer grabbing eight for 133 yards.

"Joe called the right play at the right time," says backup quarterback Babe Parilli. "He read their safety blitz, and he read their pass coverage. What else is there?"

Fullback Matt Snell gains 121 yards on 30 carries, including a four-yard touchdown run to give the Jets a 7-0 lead in the second quarter. Jim Turner tacks on three second-half field goals.

In the locker room in Miami, Namath chides a press corps that had called him a loud-mouthed loser and expected him to eat his words. "I hope they all eat their pencils and pads," he says. "We won!"

Pro basketball
1958:
Dolph Schayes, in his 10th season with the Syracuse Nationals, needs 18 points to pass George Mikan as the highest scorer in professional basketball history. Midway through the third period of the Nationals' 135-109 victory over the Detroit Pistons, the 6-foot-8 forward sets the record.

The 29-year-old Schayes finishes with 23 points, including 11 from the foul line, as he reaches 11,770 points, six more than Mikan scored.

This is Schayes' 655th regular-season game. Mikan played in 439 games in nine seasons before retiring in 1956.

Schayes will finish his 16-year career with 18,438 points, an 18.5 average.

Pro hockey
1986:
By the time many of the fans in Chicago Stadium get back to their seats after the second-period intermission, Denis Savard has a goal. The Black Hawks center takes the puck off the third-period faceoff and quickly moves in for a 35-foot blast.

The goal past Hartford netminder Steve Weeks comes at four seconds, tying the NHL record for the fastest score to start a period. Montreal's Claude Provost had set the record in 1957.

"Denis just saw an opening, and he can really jump on something like that," says Chicago assistant coach Roger Neilson. "It was made to order for him."

Earlier in the Hawks' 4-2 victory, an assist by Savard had extended his scoring streak to 17 games.
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Jan. 13
Baseball
1922:
In the summer of 1921, a jury in Chicago acquitted the Black Sox of conspiracy to defraud the public concerning the 1919 World Series. Two days later, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned the eight players for life.

"The New York Times" reports today that Buck Weaver, one of the eight, had personally appealed last week to Landis for reinstatement to organized baseball. The third baseman told Landis that though he was offered the bribe to throw the Series, he never accepted the money and played his best.

Landis will never lift the ban for Weaver -- or any of the Black Sox.

Pro basketball
1962:
: Wilt Chamberlain already has scored 78 points in a game, but that came in a triple-overtime contest last month. Tonight, the Philadelphia Warriors center scores 73, the most ever in a regulation NBA game.

He hits 29 field goals and 15 free throws in the Warriors' 135-117 victory over the Chicago Packers before 3,516 fans in Philadelphia. The Stilt scores 14 points in the first period, 19 in the second, 17 in the third and 23 in the fourth.

He breaks Elgin Baylor's record of 71 points in a regulation game with two free throws with 30 seconds left. The 40 points in the second half also are a league record.

Less than two months later, Wilt will score 100 points against the Knicks.
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Jan. 14
Pro football
1973:
The Miami Dolphins, as the huge scoreboard at the Los Angeles Coliseum says, are super. They also are perfect.

They become the only NFL team to have an unbeaten, untied season, finishing at 17-0 with a 14-7 victory over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII. "Our team has gone into an area where no other football team has been," coach Don Shula says.

Relying on a ball-control offense, with fullback Larry Csonka running for 112 yards on 15 carries, quarterback Bob Griese throws only 11 passes. One of his eight completions is a 28-yard touchdown pass to Howard Twilley in the first quarter to give Miami a 7-0 lead. Jim Kiick's one-yard run makes it 14-0 just before halftime.

The Redskins get their only score when a botched field-goal attempt by Miami's Garo Yepremian results in a 49-yard touchdown return by Mike Bass with 2:07 left in the game.

Miami's "No-Name Defense" holds the Redskins to 228 yards and safety Jake Scott makes two of the Dolphins' three interceptions to win MVP honors.
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Jan. 15
Pro football
1967:
In what will become known as Super Bowl I, the Green Bay Packers, champions of the NFL, rout the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10.

The upstart Chiefs stay close for a half, trailing just 14-10, but the Packers break the game open in the second half. Elijah Pitts runs for two touchdowns and Max McGee catches his second touchdown pass of the day from Bart Starr. McGee, who is only playing because of a first-quarter injury to Boyd Dowler, catches seven passes for 138 yards after making just four receptions all season.

Starr completes 16-of-23 passes for 250 yards and is named MVP.

"The Chiefs have great speed, but I'd have to say NFL football is tougher," Packers coach Vince Lombardi says. "Their team doesn't compare with the top NFL teams."

Tickets cost from $6 to $12 and the game draws 61,946 fans to the Los Angeles Coliseum. Both NBC and CBS televise the game, with CBS winning the battle of the ratings, 24.8 to 17.4.
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Jan. 16
Baseball
1970:
Traded against his will, outfielder Curt Flood files suit in federal court in New York to knock out the player reserve clause in major league baseball. In charging baseball with violation of the antitrust laws, Flood asks the court to award him triple damages on his $1 million suit.

It names as defendants Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, the presidents of the National and American Leagues, and all 24 teams. The reserve clause restricts a player to one team indefinitely.

Flood's lawyer, former Supreme Court Justice and U.N. Ambassador Arthur Goldberg, charges that the system "subjects all players to peonage and involuntary servitude in violation of the 13th Amendment."

Flood had played the last 12 years with the St. Louis Cardinals before he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in October.

Flood will lose his battle, but the players will win the war. His action will lead to the end of the reserve clause and the birth of free agency.
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Jan. 17
College basketball
1967:
On the team bus taking UCLA to Chicago Stadium for its game against Iowa, Tommy Curtis says, "These guys (Iowa) should stay at the hotel because they're going to get a whippin'."

He's right, even if UCLA looks like it's going through the motions. In a warm-up for No. 2 Notre Dame in two days, the top-ranked Bruins extend their NCAA record-winning streak to 88 with a 68-44 victory. Coach John Wooden uses words like "lackadaisical" and "atrocious" in describing UCLA's performance.

With the leader of the Walton Gang injured -- Bill Walton misses his third straight game after suffering an injury to his lower back in victory No. 85 -- 7-foot-1 sophomore Ralph Drollinger replaces Walton at center and responds with a team-high 13 points and 17 rebounds. "Ralph's a good player," Wooden says, "but he's no Walton. Bill is a superstar."

Besides Drollinger, the Bruins have four other players score in double figures against the outclassed Hawkeyes.

Pro football
1988:
With four minutes left in the AFC championship game, John Elway's 20-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Winder gives the Broncos a 38-31 lead. Taking over on their own 25, the Browns are driving for the tying touchdown.

On second down at Denver's eight with little more than a minute remaining, Cleveland running back Earnest Byner runs for five yards when he is stripped of the ball by cornerback Jeremiah Castille, who recovers the fumble at the three. The Broncos give up a safety and escape with a 38-33 victory in Denver to advance to the Super Bowl.

Byner runs for 67 yards on 15 carries and catches seven passes for 120 yards. He scores two touchdowns. But he winds up the goat.

"I'm not in great spirits," Byner says. "But what can I do now? I played my heart out. What do you want me to do? Cry and be a baby about it. Well, I'm not going to do that. I'm a man. I did my best out there on the field. I'm just going to come back next year, and keep working and working."
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Jan. 18
Pro football
1976:
Two weeks ago, in the AFC championship game, Lynn Swann was carried off the field with a concussion, knocked woozy by a vicious Oakland Raider hit. Today, the acrobatic Pittsburgh wide receiver catches four passes for 161 yards and is named MVP after the Steelers' 21-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl X in Miami.

Among Swann's receptions are a magnificent 53-yarder, with Swann catching the ball as he is tumbling to the ground with a Dallas defender draped around his pads in the second quarter. Swann's 64-yard touchdown catch of a Terry Bradshaw pass in the fourth quarter boosts the Steelers' lead to 21-10.

"I looked at the films of me being carried off and I was limper than a piece of spaghetti," Swann says. "I made a vow then I'd play. Somehow, some way. And now, hey, this is the game ball, and it's mine. The Super Bowl game ball. How about that?"
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Jan. 19
College basketball
1974:
Three weeks after Notre Dame's football team becomes No. 1 by beating Alabama in a thrilling Sugar Bowl, the Irish score their greatest basketball victory when they end UCLA's record 88-game winning streak in an equally magnificent contest.

Down by 11 points with 3 1/2 minutes left, Notre Dame's press causes UCLA to panic. The No. 2-ranked and undefeated Irish score the game's final 12 points, capped by Dwight Clay's jumper from the right corner with 29 seconds left, to gain a stunning 71-70 victory over the Walton Gang.

UCLA, which had set the collegiate record with 61 consecutive victories by winning in South Bend a year ago, is doomed to have its streak end on the same court. It's the first loss for UCLA since Jan. 23, 1971 when the Bruins were beaten 89-82 by -- who else? -- Notre Dame, also on this court.

In the final seconds, Bill Walton, playing all 40 minutes after missing three games with a back injury, misses a 12-footer (only his second misfire in 14 field-goal attempts) and two Bruin follow-ups also fail. When it's over, Notre Dame center John Shumate (24 points, 11 rebounds) says he couldn't breathe, guard Gary Brokaw (game-high 25 points) says he couldn't believe it and Clay (1-of-4 before the game-winning shot) says Amen.
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Jan. 20
College basketball
1968:
In a basketball game that makes fans in Texas forget football temporarily, No. 2 and undefeated Houston ends No. 1 UCLA's 47-game winning streak with a 71-69 victory at the Astrodome before 52,693, at the time the largest crowd to see a college basketball game.

Houston forward Elvin Hayes outplays UCLA star Lew Alcindor, who is returning after missing two games with an injury to his left eye and is still bothered by the injury. The Big E outscores Alcindor 39-15 and hits two free throws with 28 seconds left to snap a 69-69 tie.

In Houston's 18th straight win, Hayes makes 17-of-25 field goals, grabs 15 rebounds and blocks four shots, although playing the last 11 minutes with four fouls. A sluggish Alcindor shoots 4-of-15 from the field and has 12 rebounds.

UCLA will gain its revenge in the Final Four, routing Houston, 101-69, in the semis. Alcindor will score 19 points and grab 18 rebounds compared to Hayes' 10 points and five rebounds.

Hockey
1989:
Penguins center Mario Lemieux joins Wayne Gretzky as the only players in NHL history to score 50 goals in fewer than 50 games. Just 78 seconds into his 44th game (No. 46 for Pittsburgh), Lemieux skates past the faceoff circle and beats Winnipeg goal Pokey Reddick with a shot to the short side.

Gretzky has accomplished the feat three times, with the record coming in the 1981-82 season when he scored 50 goals in 39 games.

Only 23 and in his fifth season, Lemieux also becomes the Penguins' all-time leading scorer in the 7-3 loss to the Jets when he gets two assists. With 638 points, Lemieux passes Rick Kehoe (636).

Despite the two marks, Lemieux sits dejectedly in the locker room after the game. "We didn't put any type of effort in out there," he says with a sigh. "I don't know what's going on."
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Jan. 21
Pro football
1979:
The Pittsburgh Steelers become the first team to win three Super Bowls. MVP Terry Bradshaw completes 17-of-30 passes for 318 yards, with four touchdown passes, to lead the Steelers to a 35-31 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Miami.

Bradshaw's first two touchdown passes are to John Stallworth, for 28 and 75 yards. With 34 seconds left in the first half, he hits Rocky Bleier for a seven-yard score to give Pittsburgh a 21-14 lead.

The turning point of the game occurs late in the third quarter. The Cowboys' back-up tight end Jackie Smith is free in the end zone, but he drops Roger Staubach's third-down pass. Instead of a tie game, the Cowboys have to settle for a field goal.

"I guess I was so wide open that it scared Roger as much as it did me," says the future Hall of Famer after his last game. "He took a little off the ball. It was a little behind me and a little low, as I turned back for it, I slipped. But no excuses. I still should have caught it."

The Steelers score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to take a 35-17 lead and hold off a Cowboys' comeback.

Basketball
1982:
Ned Irish, the founder and former president of the New York Knicks from 1946-74 and one of the leaders in the development of college and pro basketball, dies of a heart attack in Venice, Fla. He was 76.

Irish left a job as a New York sportswriter in 1934 to work for Madison Square Garden. His first college promotion drew 16,180 fans to a doubleheader, with NYU defeating Notre Dame in the feature game.

Over the next decade, Irish spurred the growth of college basketball in New York. In 1946, he was one of the founders of the 11-team Basketball Association of America, which merged with the National Basketball League in 1949 to become the National Basketball Association.

He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1964.
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Jan. 22
Boxing
1973:
It's a battle of unbeaten heavyweights, both of whom won Olympic gold medals. In one corner there's the champ, Joe Frazier (1964 Olympic champ), standing 5-foot-11 and weighing 214 pounds. In the other corner there's George Foreman (1968), at 6-foot-3 and 217 1/2 pounds. Frazier is the 3-1 favorite.

Surprisingly, the bout in Kingston, Jamaica, lasts less than five minutes. More surprisingly, it's Foreman who's dishing out all the punishment, as he pounds away at his smaller opponent. Catching Smokin' Joe with unlooked-for right uppercuts, Foreman knocks down Frazier six times in two rounds. After the sixth, referee Arthur Mercante stops the fight at 1:35, Foreman winning the title on a TKO.

"I hit him with a punch, and there was a grin on his face, as if he was saying, 'Look, man, you're going to kill me,' " says Foreman (38-0).

Frazier (29-1) says, "I chose to fight him back and that was all wrong. I should have bobbed and weaved and jabbed, but my instinct made me get up and try to continue to press the fight."
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Jan. 23
College football
1976:
Paul Robeson, a runaway slave's son who became a two-time All-American defensive end at Rutgers, dies at 77 in Philadelphia. He suffered a mild stroke last month and had been suffering from cerebral vascular disorders.

Robeson won a scholarship in 1915 to Rutgers, where he was the third African-American to attend the then-private New Jersey college. Besides starring in football, he also earned letters in baseball, basketball and track.

He won wider fame as a powerful stage actor (perhaps best remembered in the role of Othello) and concert singer (belting out such songs as "Ol' Man River"). He also was an outspoken activist on behalf of African-Americans, defiantly fighting racial bigotry. The State Department revoked his passport in 1950, charging him with Communist sympathies. A winner in 1952 of a Stalin Peace Prize, he was a prime target of the McCarthy era's anti-Communist witch hunts.

Pro basketball
1971:
The Basketball Hall of Fame elects three new members into its shrine:

Bob Cousy -- Known for his brilliant playmaking, including behind-the-back dribbling and no-look passes, Cooz played 13 years with the Boston Celtics and eight consecutive seasons led the NBA in assists. A 6-foot-1 guard, he also averaged 18.4 points in his career and helped Boston win six championships. He was an All-American at Holy Cross in 1950.

Bob Pettit -- When he retired from the St. Louis Hawks in 1965, after an 11-year NBA career (10 times first-team all-league), the 6-foot-9 forward was the highest scorer in pro basketball history with 20,880 points (26.4 average) and was third in rebounds and free throws. He was an All-American at LSU in 1954.

Abe Saperstein - He founded the Harlem Globetrotters in 1927. Through Saperstein's efforts, both as a coach and as a promoter, the Trotters became the foremost goodwill ambassadors of basketball throughout the world.

Pro hockey
1944:
In the most one-sided game in NHL history, the Red Wings blast the New York Rangers, 15-0, at Olympia Stadium in Detroit. The Red Wings also break another record by becoming the first team to score 15 consecutive goals in a game.

After scoring two goals in the first period, the Red Wings get five in the second and eight in the third. If the game lasts another second, their total would be 16 goals as a shot goes into the net just after the contest ends.

While Rangers goalie Ken McAuley, a former truant officer from Saskatchewan, misses 15 shots, he makes 43 saves. Detroit's rookie goalie, Connie Dion, has an easier time, having to make only nine saves for his first NHL shutout.

Ten players score for the Red Wings, with Syd Howe leading the onslaught with a hat trick, with all three goals coming in the final eight minutes.

Pro football
1978:
During the regular season, the Chicago Bears' Walter Payton broke the NFL single-game rushing record with 275 yards and finished the year with a career-high 1,852 yards. In today's Pro Bowl, he's named the player of the game.

Payton's one-yard touchdown run with 7:37 left ties the game at 13-13. Efren Herrera's extra point gives the NFC, which trailed 13-0 at halftime, a 14-13 victory over the AFC in Tampa, Fla.

Payton averages 5.9 yards a carry in the game, finishing with 77 yards on 13 rushes. Twenty of his yards come in the game-winning drive. "Mediocre, that's all," Payton says of his performance. As a member of the winning team, Payton earns $5,000.
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Jan. 24

Boxing
1986:
Heavyweight Mike Tyson, just 19, breaks Rocky Marciano's record for consecutive knockouts at the start of a career, stopping an overweight, 31-year-old tomato can named Mike Jameson in the fifth round in Atlantic City. Tyson does not appear as sharp as in the past as he records his 17th knockout.

From the opening bell, Tyson drives punches into the beefy sides of Jameson before bringing his blows up to his opponent's head. Jameson is 6-foot-4 and 236¼ pounds and described by The New York Times as "a jiggly slab of a man with drooping pectorals and rolls of fat protruding from his waist band."

Tyson, who is 5-foot-11 and weighs 215 pounds, scores knockdowns in the fourth and fifth rounds. After the second knockdown, the referee stops the fight, though Jameson, whose record drops to 17-10, protests the decision.

This is the longest of Tyson's 17 fights.

Hockey
1981:
It looked as if Mike Bossy would knock Maurice Richard from the record book by becoming the first player to score 50 goals in less than 50 games when he scored a hat trick in Game 47, giving him 48 goals. But the New York Islanders right wing doesn't score in his next two games and tonight, against the Quebec Nordiques, he is blanked for the first 55 minutes.

"I hadn't given up yet, but I wondered if I'd ever score a goal again," Bossy says later. "I felt like my hands were taped together."

But with 4:10 remaining and the Islanders on a power play, Bossy's backhander beats goalie Ron Grahame for No. 49. Then, with 89 seconds left, he takes a pass from Bryan Trottier and scores again, sending a 25-foot shot from the left faceoff circle through Grahame's legs to seal the Islanders' 7-4 victory at Nassau Coliseum.

The two goals enable the 24-year-old Bossy to tie The Rocket's feat of scoring 50 goals in 50 games. "I felt like someone lifted 1,000 pounds off me," Bossy says.

Pro football
1982:
Exactly 134 years to the day after a prospecting band of Californians known as the 49ers found gold at Sutter's Mill north of San Francisco, another band of 49ers strike it rich.

In the first Super Bowl played in a cold-weather city, the 49ers hold off the Cincinnati Bengals, 26-21, indoors on artificial turf at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. The 49ers take a 20-0 halftime lead before the Bengals rally in Super Bowl XVI.

But with the score 20-7 in the third period, a San Francisco goal-line stand slows Cincinnati's momentum. Linebacker Jack Reynolds stops 249-pound fullback Pete Johnson on second down from the one-yard line and again on fourth down from a foot from the goal line. On the first two plays of the stand, San Francisco only has 10 players on the field.

Quarterback Joe Montana (14-of-22 for 157 yards) is named the game's MVP after diving one-yard for the 49ers' first touchdown and throwing an 11-yard scoring pass to Earl Cooper for their other. Ray Wersching provides San Francisco's other 14 points with four field goals and two extra points.
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Jan. 25
Pro football
1981:
The Philadelphia Eagles go Ker-Plunkett as Oakland Raider quarterback Jim Plunkett completes his triumphant resurgence. Ending an amazing season that took him from the bench (he didn't become the starter until Dan Pastorini suffered a broken leg in the fifth game) to MVP of Super Bowl XV, Plunkett throws three touchdown passes in the Raiders' 27-10 victory in the Superdome in New Orleans.

He hits wide receiver Cliff Branch twice (two and 29 yards) and running back Kenny King for an 80-yarder to boost Oakland's lead to 14-0 late in the first quarter. He completes 13-of-21 passes for 261 yards without an interception.

Eagles quarter Ron Jaworski, nicknamed Jaws, is eaten alive by the Raiders' shark-like defense. Taking the biggest bite out of him is linebacker Rod Martin, who intercepts three passes.

The Raiders are the first wild-card team to win the Super Bowl, though not the first non-first place team to triumph. The Kansas City Chiefs finished second in the AFL West in the 1969 season on their way to the Super Bowl crown.
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Jan. 26
Pro football
1960:
In a shocking switch that ends seven days of bitter fighting among the 12 NFL owners, Los Angeles Rams general manager Pete Rozelle is a compromise choice and elected the league's new commissioner on the 23rd ballot.

Until the announcement, the 33-year-old Rozelle's name had not even been mentioned among the candidates. Through most of the voting, the leaders had been Marshall Leahy, a San Francisco lawyer, and Austin Gunsel, a former FBI agent who had been acting commissioner since the death of Bert Bell 3 1/2 months ago.

When it appears there is no hope of breaking the stalemate between Leahy and Gunsel, Baltimore Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom proposes Rozelle. The Californian receives eight votes, Leahy gets one and three teams abstain. "I would be silly to consider myself anything but a compromise commissioner," says Rozelle, who receives a three-year contract at an annual salary of $50,000.

Rozelle insists his chief claim to fame is that he "played basketball with Duke Snider" in high school in California.
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Jan. 27
Pro football
1991:
For more than a week, the news has been dominated by missile attacks and aerial bombardments in the Gulf War. Today, the nation seems almost relieved to focus on a football game -- Super Bowl XXV between the Giants and Bills. There are stark reminders, however, that a country of football fans is a country at war: the most extensive security ever for a sporting event and above Tampa Stadium a pregame flyover by four F-15 jets.

With a ball-control offense, New York holds the ball for 40 minutes and 33 seconds. O.J. Anderson rushes for 102 yards on 21 carries, including a one-yard touchdown run, and wins the game's MVP. Quarterback Jeff Hostetler, who had been the backup until an injury to Phil Simms late in the season, completes 20-of-32 passes for 222 yards, including a 14-yard score to Stephen Baker that brings the Giants to within 12-10.

After a 74-yard drive ends on Buffalo's three-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, Matt Bahr kicks a 21-yard field goal to give the Giants a 20-19 lead. The Bills start their final drive on their 10 with 2:16 left. Quarterback Jim Kelly moves them 61 yards to the Giants' 29. Scott Norwood has a chance to be a hero. Instead, he's the goat. His 47-yard field-goal attempt with four seconds left goes wide right, giving coach Bill Parcells and the Giants their second Super Bowl triumph in five seasons.
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Jan. 28
Baseball
1958:
Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella, a three-time National League MVP, suffers a broken neck and is paralyzed after an automobile accident near his home in Glen Cove, Long Island. Campanella undergoes a four-hour-and-15-minute operation to repair two fractured vertebrae in his neck.

Returning alone from a TV appearance in New York, Campanella's rented car skids on the icy road, turns over on its right side and crashes into a telephone pole at 3:30 in the morning. Campanella is pinned in the wrecked car for 30 minutes before the doors can be pried open. While doctors are hopeful the paralysis will eventually disappear, it doesn't. Campanella will never walk again.
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Jan. 29
Pro football
1963:
Seventeen men -- 11 stars of other eras and six officials who helped build the game -- are elected charter members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which is being constructed in Canton, Ohio.

Running backs Jim Thorpe, Red Grange, Ernie Nevers and Bronko Nagurski, quarterback Sammy Baugh, and end Don Hutson head the players selected. Also chosen are backs Dutch Clark and Johnny "Blood" McNally, center/linebacker Mel Hein, end/tackle Cal Hubbard and tackle Pete "Fats" Henry.

The officials named are: Bert Bell and Joe Carr, both former NFL commissioners, and four team founders -- George Halas (Chicago Bears, originally the Decatur Staleys), Curly Lambeau (Green Bay Packers), Tim Mara (New York Giants), and George Preston Marshall (Washington Redskins).

"These are the milestone men of pro football," says Dick McGann, director of the Hall of Fame. "Their deeds and dogged faith wrote the history of this great game."

Pro basketball
1988:
An NBA record crowd of 61,983 fills the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich., breaking the record of 52,745 set on Feb. 14, 1987, also at the Silverdome. Boosting the attendance is that more than 20,000 fans show up after receiving freebies from upwards of a half-dozen corporations which had bought the $4, third-level seats. Tuffy Mufflers, the biggest donator of tickets, uses Detroit Pistons forward Rick Mahorn as a spokesman.

"You get the tickets," Mahorn had promised. "We'll get the Celtics."

He's both a good salesman and an accurate prophet, as the Pistons romp to a 125-108 victory.

"It was mind-boggling to look up in the stands and see that many people," Pistons coach Chuck Daly says.

The attendance record will last more than 10 years, until 62,046 show up in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to see Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls on March 27, 1998.
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Jan. 30
Pro football
1983:
Two nights before, at the Washington Redskins' team party, John Riggins wore a top hat and tails. Tonight, in Super Bowl XVII, Riggins is back in work clothes.

The blue-collar running back makes the most important dash of his NFL career on fourth-and-inches at the Miami Dolphins' 43-yard line with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. On a basic short-yardage play, called "70 Chip," Riggins breaks a tackle to turn a first down into a touchdown. The Redskins have their first lead of the game; it's 20-17 after the extra point.

Joe Theismann's second touchdown pass of the game seals the Redskins' 27-17 victory in Pasadena. Running behind a tremendous offensive line, nicknamed the Hogs, Riggins finishes with 38 carries for 166 yards, including 108 in the second half, and is named the game's MVP.

When Riggins is informed that President Ronald Reagan called his congratulations to coach Joe Gibbs, he says, "At least for tonight, Ron is president, but I'm the king."

Pro basketball
1996:
The return is pure Magic. After disappearing from the Los Angeles Lakers lineup for 4½ years, Magic Johnson puts on quite a show in his first game back. Playing 27 minutes as a power forward, he scores 19 points, has 10 assists and grabs eight rounds in a 128-118 victory over the Golden State Warriors at the Forum.

"It was great," Johnson says. "It was so much fun. Man!"

In one Magic moment, he brings the sellout crowd to its feet and causes the Warriors' Latrell Sprewell to be faked out of his sneakers. Johnson pretends to throws a shovel pass - Sprewell falls for it ("like a carp going after a worm," broadcaster Chick Hearn says) - and then he scores a layup. Except for appearing in the 1992 All-Star Game, Johnson hadn't played in the NBA since announcing on Nov. 7, 1991, that he was retiring from the Lakers because he had tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. He is older at 36, 30 pounds heavier at 255, and wiser and more secure about his illness.

"I'm doing what I love to do," Magic says. "I wanted my son and daughter to see me play. I didn't think I went out the way I wanted to go out before, and that's the reason I'm back."

Pro football
1994:
How about them Cowboys?

Until the Buffalo Bills' Thurman Thomas fumbles early in the third quarter, it doesn't look particularly good for Dallas, which trails 13-6. Safety James Washington picks up the loose ball and returns it 46 yards for a touchdown, tying Super Bowl XXVIII in Atlanta.

The score switches the momentum and the Cowboys go on to rack up another 17 points and rout the Bills, 30-13. Emmitt Smith, the NFL's leading rusher this season, runs for 132 yards (91 in the second half) and scores two second-half touchdowns. Already voted the regular season MVP, he is named the game's MVP.

"Our mission is completed," Smith says.

It's the second consecutive Super Bowl title for the Cowboys, who are the first team to ever start the season 0-2 and finish Super Bowl champs. For the Bills, they are now "Woe for Four" in the last four championship games.
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Jan. 31
Pro football
1988:
The Washington Redskins have a quarter for the ages. Trailing the Denver Broncos 10-0 in Super Bowl XXII, they score 35 points in the second period on the way to a 42-10 victory.

Doug Williams completes 9 of 11 passes for 228 yards and four touchdowns -- 80 and 50 yards to Ricky Sanders, 27 yards to Gary Clark, and 8 yards to Clint Didier. Rookie Tim Smith runs for 122 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown. All this takes place in the second quarter, with Washington needing only 18 plays to get its five touchdowns.

Williams finishes 18-for-29 for 340 yards and earns the game's MVP award. (Only Joe Montana, with 357 yards in 1989, will throw for more yards in a Super Bowl.) While Williams is the first African-American to quarterback a Super Bowl team, he says, "I didn't come here as a black quarterback, I came here as quarterback of the Washington Redskins."

Smith, in his first start of the season, runs for 204 yards, a Super Bowl record. He scores his second touchdown, on a four-yard run, in the fourth quarter.

The Redskins are the only team to gain more than 600 yards -- they have 602 -- in a Super Bowl.
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